Trin's Reviews > Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916

Close to Shore by Michael Capuzzo
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Sep 27, 2008

it was ok
bookshelves: adventure, history, science, american-lit, 2000s
Read in September, 2008

A decent but unspectacular account of the 1916 shark attacks off the Jersey Shore, which served as the inspiration for Jaws. The book is slow to get going as Capuzzo attempts to paint a picture of life in the Eastern United States in the teens, a task with which I felt he had only limited success. Clearly a lot of research went into this account, and Capuzzo provides a lot of detail, but he never really makes the past come alive like, for example, E.L. Doctorow does in Ragtime. Neither are the descriptions of the shark attacks particularly intense; there are far too many chapters in which Capuzzo describes a swimmer going out into the water in proximity to the shark, only to close with a line like, “Little did Robert know who close he came to death that day.” This doesn’t add suspense; it just makes the narrative seem needlessly drawn out. Weirdly, Capuzzo also orders the climax so that the chapter in which the shark is captured and killed is followed by several chapters describing failed attempts to capture and kill the shark. Uh, dude—I think you’ve got that backwards.

If you’re a big shark fan, you might enjoy this book more than I did, although I feel like I’ve read National Geographic articles that described shark attacks in a more titillating manner. Or you could just watch Jaws again, which I did the day after finishing the book—I found it much more satisfying.
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05/13/2016 marked as: read

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message 1: by Walter (new)

Walter Welle Great review! Can I add you as a friend on GR?


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